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Free Short Stories, Walk The Dirt

Short Story

 

A man of no consequence was taking an inconsequential stroll through the countryside early one morning when he came to a dog on the side of the road who was also of no consequence. The man continued on his way, and the dog followed. They had common ground. Life had slipped by without either of them, nor life, noticing. A strangely colored rat who was scurrying along on the roadside, not noticing the unexciting pair approaching, slowly turned and wandered off under a fence, which was in a state of not uncommon disrepair, and into the dry, tall grass. A man and a woman in cycling clothes came speeding by them on road bikes, nearly hitting the pair and acting as if they hadn’t even noticed the two walking there. They trudged on. On their uneventful trek, the weather had been unnoticeably pleasant, until it took a turn for the worst and began to rain. The droplets were large and falling slowly enough that each individual drop was visible to the eyes of the two companions, the ever changing form of every droplet dancing and shimmering in what light the clouds let through. With a stroke of uncanny luck, the duo soon found an umbrella with a tie-dye pattern on it lying in the middle of their path with no one around to claim ownership of it. The man picked it up, and the dog, now thoroughly wet, quickly crowded next to him as he opened it. They continued on their way. In the field beside them, they noticed a cow with large black spots on a coat of milky white. The cow may have noticed them too, because it stared at them until they had passed, but gave no other sign of acknowledgement. The dog barked at the cow, but it gave no response. They kept walking. A city loomed in the distance, and they stopped for a time, mesmerized by the sunbeams glancing off glass effigies in the late dawn. The morning traffic was beginning to grow and the road next to which they walked was becoming more and more busy as people made their daily trek to their likely dull jobs in their likely dull lives, the goods and services they provided meaning more to those that bought them than to themselves. But doesn’t everyone play a part in society? The man asked the dog, but its only response was to look up at the him with sad brown eyes and stare for a few brief moments, wisdom shining through like the sounds of a party from someone else’s home. The man sighed, the problems of the world racing through his mind, the answers to them coming and going like quicksilver in his thoughts. They reached the city and continued walking, their pace never changing. Only a few people ever noticed a clean-shaven, Caucasian man in his mid-thirties wearing a blue Nike sweat-suit jogging alongside a soft coated wheaten terrier through the awakening city streets. They went about their day as usual, keeping their daily routines, but the man walking with the dog kept tugging at the back of their minds. Each returned to their respective homes at the end of the day, and, not knowing why, had the comforting feeling that somehow they were making a difference in the world.

 

more by KENNY STONEMAN

Photograph by Kelly Sikkema

 

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